About the Chapters

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Gloria Petersen Press Photo

Gloria Petersen, Author

The Art of Professional Connections:
Dining Strategies for Successful Business Entertaining

The Inspiration
and
Chapter Objectives

 

 

 

Chapter 1: LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR A MEMORABLE EVENT

My first inspiration for writing Event Strategies for Successful Business Entertaining came from an amazing opportunity I had when I served as protocol adviser for a Fortune 500 company in preparation for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Granted, that was a lot time ago; however, I took extensive notes and throughout the subsequent years I have updated them regularly to meet the needs of clients receiving international visitors.

Other inspirations for Event Strategies came from participants of my seminars and workshops. For example, one Fortune 500 technology firm hired a top honors university graduate as an account executive and gave him their high-profile clients to entertain. He came from small-town USA and had never been to the opera or to a symphony, yet he was expected to entertain at these venues. His manager arranged a private session with me to help acquaint this young man with high-level business entertaining. The executive asked me: “Why don’t you write a book that can serve as a resource for this type of entertaining?” Good point, I thought, but I set the idea aside for the time being. Then, after a chain of significant personal events, I knew the time was right.

I decided that it was time to record what I had learned over the years in such a way that I could share my insights and experiences with readers for whom business communication and professional self-development are important.

In writing this four-guidebook series, The Art of Professional Connections, I have created a resource that provides readers with strategies for basic business communication, networking, sustaining professional relationships, and successful business entertaining. Each book transitions to the next, and the series concludes with this book, which offers strategies for planning and creating a memorable event while avoiding all the pitfalls.

Chapter 1

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To address the principles and strategies of business entertaining, from a small conference to the most elaborate event;
  • To review the steps necessary to utilize your social-ability to create an energizing social environment that helps you build solid professional relationships; and
  • To impress upon you the importance of setting goals, creating plans, and assembling the right team to make your business social event purposeful and memorable.

This chapter will guide you through expanding on your “social-ability” skills and awarenesses, defining the purpose of the event, selecting your development team, creating the theme, and pacing yourself to avoid burnout.

Chapter 2: MASTERING THE LOGISTICS

If you want to get a point across, entertain.
―George Bernard Shaw, 1856–1950

There is more to celebrating doing business with a client than saying thank you. Planning a dinner party, staging an event, receiving out-of-town office visits, or scheduling a special outing can be incorporated into the price of doing business. The extra steps you take to make clients, customers, and prospects feel appreciated and special give you the competitive edge.

A recent episode of Dancing with the Stars demonstrated all the logistics involved during the live taping of commercials as they prepare the stage from one dancing couple’s theme to the next.  The timing, precision, and teamwork are amazing! The behind-the-scenes people are the real stars! I have planned events, and as a speaker I have worked with many meeting planners and companies planning small to large events-the details involved in putting together any event are mind-boggling. It is all about making sure that everything and everybody work well together!

chapter 2

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • 1. To help you consider all the logistics and create your own protocol for hosting a small or large event;
  • 2. To provide you with an understanding of all the details behind staging a successful business event or banquet, from table decorations and seating to hiring caterers, all of which will have a direct bearing on creating a memorable experience; and
  • 3. To give you a complete perspective on what it takes to create a memorable event for entertaining guests, from knowing the expectations and protocol, to covering all the details, to avoiding distractions and pitfalls.

This chapter will guide you from the planning stages to the implementation and coordination of details for any size event, right down to arranging meals and diverting hazards.

Chapter 3: INVITATION FUNDAMENTALS

Eighty percent of success is showing up.
—Woody Allen, Actor

You receive the invitation and it is a “go.” However, the invite says “chic casual.” What is chic casual? As a former personal shopper for Nordstrom, I often encountered these dilemmas when helping a customer put together an ensemble for an event, and I was supposed to know how to interpret all the various event dress codes. I found that keeping it simple and within certain parameters worked no matter how different or creative the invitation’s dress code.

Then there is the jeans scene. It never ceases to amaze me when I attend a formal event or celebration banquet and there is a mixture of jeans with dressy tops (for women) or polo shirts (for men) among cocktail dresses and tuxedos. It definitely confirms the confusion that exists in the interpretation of dress codes. Therefore, it is important to take your invitation that extra step by defining the dress expectation so that your guests easily understand it. And, it is the guest’s responsibility to “ask” when they are not sure, and then be appropriately attired. It is also about “ambience.” You want to complement the environment as well as the event.

Chapter 3

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To understand the need to carefully determine the guest list and to send out well-conceived invitations;
  • To unravel the confusion around the various dress codes we encounter and distinguish between business casua,l forma,l and black tie; and
  • To create name tags that accurately reflects people’s names and titles.

This chapter will  guide you from the invite details and how to handle extenuating circumstances to deciphering the “what to wear” dilemma. 

Chapter 4: ENGAGING ASSISTANCE AND IDENTIFYING DUTIES

While I am not a professional meeting planner, I have served in the role of protocol advisor for events ranging from corporate anniversaries to a Fortune 500 company preparing for their role as an Olympic sponsor. These experiences exposed me to the numerous duties involved in planning an event and made me realize that for a successful event it’s important to make sure that the “right” people (your event cast) are handling specific roles and, more importantly, that they have a thorough understanding of those roles.

Chapter 4

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To introduce you to the need for specialty positions at large events and show you how to fill those positions and perform their functions;
  • To provide you with a blueprint for becoming a gracious host or an impeccable guest by avoiding common faux pas; and
  • To offer tips for accommodating participants such as spouses and individuals with special needs.

Certainly there is a lot more involved than simply identifying the event cast. Each member of this select team comes with special considerations and duties (and some positions do overlap). This chapter will also identify the most common host and guest dilemmas that range from responding to an invitation and handling extenuating circumstances to accommodating guests with disabilities.  

Chapter 5: CULTURAL EVENTS AND AT-HOME ENTERTAINING

Imagine this: You grew up in small-town USA, secured your bachelor’s or master’s degree, and have now been hired by a Fortune 500 company in a large metropolitan city. Your job description includes entertaining elite clients and their spouses (or dates) at the theater or symphony. You, however, have never been to a symphony or to the theater! Now what?

This is a scenario that I have encountered many times when presenting business entertaining seminars. It can be daunting for a newly hired graduate who is eager to make a good impression, as it can be for someone who has made a career change or secured a promotion and is faced with a similar scenario.

Furthermore, the thought of entertaining guests or your boss at your home can be both exciting and stressful. Not only are your hosting skills on display, but also your skills at organization, cooking, housekeeping, and in some cases child-rearing and animal care. Your ability to organize at home translates to the office.

Chapter 5

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To cover the rules and expectations and proper etiquette for attending cultural venues, review the policies and practicalities of attending the theater, and what to do or avoid in disruptive situations;
  • To understand that rock concerts are not out of the question for client entertainment but that there are cautions and caveats; and
  • To introduce home entertainment as an art within itself. For some, the greatest honor (especially for international guests) is to be invited to your home.

This chapter focuses on the theater and on concerts because the guidelines for these can be applied to any cultural event as well as to the most personal form of business social events, at-home entertainment, whether it’s a casual outdoor barbecue or a formal dinner party.

Chapter 6: SPORTING EVENTS, GAMES, AND OUTINGS

While watching vicious verbal attacks, out-of-control egos, and demeaning attitudes that take place on several realty shows, I cannot wonder about how these influential programs are affecting today’s sports. Truth is these behaviors existed before reality television and still take place. However, carrying this behavior into corporate events, is risky and counterproductive. To be honest, golf has never interested me; however, I took the lessons and join a golf group. As a result, I have a better understanding and respect for the game.

Whether you choose to be a spectator or participant, sports, games, and outings are opportunities to relax and enjoy clients and staff away from a work environment; plus they allow you to de-stress or alleviate the intense focus of serious business work. And such an event does not have to be a pre-planned outing; it can be a spontaneous board game in the employee lounge. Whatever the situation, the change of scenery can make you, your employees and your clients feel better focused and more efficient.

Chapter 6

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To realize that any kind of corporate outing, especially sporting events, team-building exercises, and retreats, is for the purpose of team building and solidifying relationships;
  • To provide the basic principles for understanding your role as spectator or participator and to cover all the what-ifs and dos and don’ts; and
  • To focus on team-building exercises or events in general and to know that the ground rules involve being open-minded and willing to participate, contributing to a climate of trust, and learning from the experience.

This chapter focuses on the rules of play for all sporting events, games, and outings.  

Chapter 7: APPLAUD, CELEBRATE, AND BENEFIT THOSE WHO SERVE YOU

The inspiration for this chapter will be posted soon.

Chapter 7

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To reinforce the notion that business parties or events are primarily for socializing and for honoring employees, retirees, and special individuals for their achievements and contributions;
  • To recognize that there are expectations when attending special business functions, for CEOs and managers as well as for employees, their family members, and for clients; and
  • To understand that there are specific protocols for organizing and attending family-focused social events, whether they are wedding celebrations, anniversaries, or picnic-style outings.

This chapter will …

Chapter 8: CONFERENCES, CONVENTIONS, AND TRADE SHOWS

The inspiration for this chapter will be posted soon.

Chapter 8

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To help you realize that your main focus at a major convention, conference, or trade show is to represent your company, that you are your company’s reputation, and that you have specific assignments to accomplish;
  • To provide you with the details necessary to navigate a major event successfully, to take care of speakers arranged by your company or organization, to make the most of talks and breakout sessions, to manage a successful booth and attract prospects, and to find time to relax and have fun; and
  • To remind you that there are very specific things you can do to travel and check into hotels safely and protect your ID, your money, and your valuables.

This chapter will …

Chapter 9: GESTURES OF APPRECIATION

The inspiration for this chapter will be posted soon.

Chapter 9

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To help discern the right occasions and the right reasons for giving gifts to business associates and clients; to understand what’s appropriate and what’s not, and what makes a gift memorable;
  • To show the relationship between showing appreciation and reinforcing a company’s brand, and to provide instructions on how to make a gift truly heartfelt; and
  • To provide guidelines on reciprocating gifts, declining gifts, handling inappropriate gifts, regifting gifts gracefully, and above all cultivating an attitude of gratitude and making people feel special.

This chapter will …

Chapter 10: CUSTOMIZE YOUR CHECKLISTS AND JOURNALS

The inspiration for this chapter will be posted soon.

Chapter 10

The objectives of this chapter are …

  • To impress upon you the need to foresee and plan for every detail and every contingency when planning an important event;
  • To provide you with tried and tested guides for successfully planning and executing a successful business event; and
  • To remind you that evaluating an event afterward is just as important as all the preparations that go before.

This chapter will …

This Book Concludes with an Event Planning Exercise
that will also serve as your review/quiz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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